Under Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Opens the Door to Privatizing Half its Public Housing

Source: Rebecca Burns, In These Times, March 31, 2015

Residents fear that a new redevelopment initiative will usher in another wave of displacement…. Chicago, long a pioneer of privatization, is poised to embark on a sweeping experiment with the city’s public-housing stock. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) plans to court private investment in as much as half of its public-housing units through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), a new federal program billed as a way to “revitalize” housing for the poor and address a $26 billion backlog in needed repairs…. Housing advocates fear that the CHA’s transformation into an asset manager, rather than a direct provider of housing, is about to be intensified through RAD. (The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the initiative). The CHA has submitted the largest RAD request of any U.S. city, for nearly 11,000 public-housing units. The agency is still waiting for approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but is moving ahead with plans to implement RAD, stirring suspicions among public-housing residents that they will be left out of crucial decisions….